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I Met A Guru

By on October 20, 2013 in Florida Travel, Natural Highs with 8 Comments

Amrit Yoga InstituteI recently went on a yoga retreat at Amrit Yoga Institute for $139. This included my accommodations, meals, yoga, Yoga Nidra, lectures with a guru, and more.

7:00 a.m.: My alarm went off. I hit the snooze button. My radio never came on again, and I drifted off until
8:15 a.m. I’m not a morning person.
9:30 a.m.: By this time, I had finished some last minute things around my apartment, showered and hit the road.

I plugged the address into my GPS, and told Siri to take me there. Both electronic devises wanted to bring me to Tallahassee. However, my destination was Silver Springs. Thank God I went old school and printed the directions.

Travel tip: Amrit Yoga Institute is located in a no cell zone. Make sure you do not solely depend on electronic devices.

I finally arrived at my yoga retreat a little after 2:00 p.m. Check-in was at 1:00 p.m., so I was one of the first to arrive. This meant I got a better bed selection and a chance to settle in before our first yoga class at 4:00 p.m.

I was located in the lodge, where we would be doing some of our meditations. The rooms and beds were simple. I threw my bag under my bed, explored the grounds, took some pictures, and then went to see what else was happening. I had decided to make the most of my weekend, and be open to whatever opportunities came my way — regardless of whether I was in or out of my comfort zone.

The yoga institute offered various massages and healing arts (for a price). Since I had some time to kill, I decided to try an Amrit Yoga Institute, Silver Springs, FloridaAbhyanga massage. It was amazing. Off to yoga I went, covered in oil. We practiced Amrit yoga in the tent for an hour. By dinnertime, I was feeling pretty Zen.

Amrit Yoga Institute in Silver Springs, FloridaDinner was in the dining hall, and the food was all organic. I had eaten at an ashram in Nassau, Bahamas, once before. Let’s just say, I brought some almonds just in case.

I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious the meals were. My first meal consisted of soup, some sort of grainy thing, something sweet (which I later found out was dessert), salad, amazing homemade ginger salad dressing, and ginger tea. First of all, I’m not big on veggies, salads, or anything ginger. But, everything was made from the garden and was oh so flavorful. I didn’t break into those almonds until the drive home…

After dinner, we met in the Darshan room of the lodge. There we were introduced to some of the teachings behind Amrit yoga. We were taught about “the pot” and “conscious awareness.” A woman drew a picture of a pot. Inside the pot wenAmrit Yoga Institute Gardent broccoli. The next day, carrots went into the pot. But, the pot didn’t care what went inside. It was still a pot. And, so, the pot is us. It is not what happens to us, but rather how we react.

We were then brought into a deep meditative state. Awake, but asleep. A yogi sleep. A drug-like state of mind coming from an
internal release. Relaxation. Peace. Happiness. Feeling Zen. What was this spell I was under? Yoga Nidra.

I never wanted it to end. But it did. Time to wait for my turn to shower before drifting off to sleep… Sacred silence began at 10:00 p.m. We were still allowed to talk, but only in whispers until the conclusion at 9:30 a.m. the following morning.

Amrit Yoga Institute, Silver Springs, FloridaSaturday

I skipped a shower, savoring a few more minutes of sleep before heading to the tent for our 7:00 a.m. yoga class. For those who know me, this is not my style. I hardly ever leave without a shower, even if I’m off to the beach or a hot yoga class. Next, another delicious meal. (Ironically, I was starting to look forward to eating, whereas I had originally dreaded the experience.)

Shower tip: Best time to shower is after breakfast. There are no lines at this time. Yoga, breakfast, then shower.

Fun Fact: Gu=Dark; Ru=Light; Guru=Darkness to light

Off to the Darshan Hall we went for our morning session. This was our first exposure to Yogi Amrit Desai, also known as Gurudev.

So, what does one learn when in the presence of a spiritual leader, such as Gurudev? Well, Yogi Desai talked about judgment and living on the edge. He talked about how most people respond to stress through flight or fight. However, we need to accept that which is. Kill stress, and all other physical symptoms and issues will go away. Try to tackle anything else, and you will only resolve that one issue. But dissolve your stress, and all else will fall into place. And, get rid of the useless to get what is good.

Amrit Yoga Institute Garden in Silver Springs, FloridaMy mantra: I am happy, free and at peace.

How does one discover their mantra? Well, you write down three of your passions and how you feel…

  1. Traveling: Excitement, freedom, adventure, time stands still, detachment from reality, happiness, alive
  2. Writing (blog): In a zone
  3. Taking pictures: In a zone
  4. Spending time with people I care about: Loved, happy, time is endless
  5. The beach: Peaceful, one with nature
  6. Yoga Nidra: Happy, peaceful

Okay; so I’m not one who follows the rules… I bend them a little here and there based on what feels right. To find my themes, I expanded upon the exercise we were given.

Next step: If someone were to ask you what your affirmation is, what would it be? It must be short, as it must be easy to recall. If you cannot remember it when asked, what good is it? It must resonate with you. You have to feel it.

  1. I am happy.Amrit Yoga Institute, Silver Springs, Florida
  2. I am free.
  3. I am alive.
  4. I feel love.
  5. I am happy and free.
  6. I am happy and at peace.
  7. I am happy and lovable.

And the winner is…. “I am happy, free and at peace.”

Seven Principles of Yogi Amrit DesaiAmrit Yoga Institute in Silver Springs, Florida

  1. Intention
  2. Alignment
  3. Breath
  4. Inward focus
  5. Concentration
  6. Meditative awareness
  7. Integration

Our focus for the weekend was intention, alignment, breath, and inward focus.

More yoga. More Yoga Nidra. More healthy food. Musical instruments. Chanting. OM. Dancing. More sacred silence. Jai Bhagwan (Namaste).

Salt Springs, Ocala National Forest,  FloridaSunday

This was the last day, and it would end early. Yoga, breakfast, then one more visit by the Guru.

After the program ended, I got a Shirodhara, a massage given to the forehead using oils. It was an hour long, and pure heaven. I left in a daze with white tissue wrapped around my head to soak up all the oil.

Next stop: A private, half hour session with the guru for a donation ranging from $30-$100…

What does one ask a guru when all attention is focused on you? Into his home I walked in a daze, still in lala land from my forehead massage. We sat, and we talked. I asked him questions about himself. I asked him some questions pertinent to me. He asked me questions about my life and my background. I asked him about the meaning of life. The answer? Sharing. Loving. Growing. That is the meaning of life.

My time ended, and off to the Salt Springs in Ocala National Forest I went with a new friend. The water was beautiful, but cold. I wanted to stay and snorkel, but it was getting late. When I go back, I will make sure I save some time to play in the springs… Until next time…


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There Are 8 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Surendra Parikshak says:

    Great Heavenly Trip For Sure…!!!

    Need To Read and Again…Like Live Trip To Heavens…!!!

  2. Surendra Parikshak says:


  3. Arturo Thammorongsa says:

    Your means of explaining this is genuinely pleasant. Thanks a lot.

  4. Rex Brockhouse says:

    Good post.

  5. Karleen Koistinen says:

    Fantastic post. Thank you!

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